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15/12/14 09:45

Seven year plan for youth employment

40 per cent cut in youth unemployment by 2021 targeted.

Closer links between schools, college and employers will be at the heart of ambitious plans for a significant reduction in youth unemployment over the next seven years.

The Scottish Government has published a new youth employment strategy to reflect the changing economic conditions and the publication of the report by the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce earlier this year.

The Commission called for substantial changes to vocational education in Scotland and its recommendations on improved opportunities for vulnerable groups have informed the strategy’s aims to enable young people of all backgrounds to succeed in a stronger, fairer and more equitable society.

Key measures over the next seven years include:

  • increased uptake of work-related learning and qualifications in the senior phase of school
  • Earlier careers guidance available from 2015/16
  • New standard for work experience by 2015/16
  • New ‘pre-apprenticeship’ pilot to help those furthest from the labour market by 2015/16
  • All secondary schools to have active partnerships with employers by 2018/19.

Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham and Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment Annabelle Ewing welcomed the publication on a visit to Glasgow Kelvin College’s Springburn campus which is already working closely with local schools and employers to help young people into jobs. Ms Cunningham said:

“Scotland’s economy is growing stronger and our employment figures are improving on a monthly basis. However, history shows us that it is younger women and men who find it most difficult to find a job, even when our economy is at its most resilient. Returning to pre-recession levels of youth employment is not enough and the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting more young people towards high quality jobs remains unwavering.

“The youth employment strategy being published today outlines what we plan to do to equip our young people with the skills and knowledge they need from the early years right through to the senior phase and into an apprenticeship, further and higher education, and a job. At its heart are our detailed plans to implement the recommendations from the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, reflecting its vision for an improved system of vocational education that opens up work opportunities to everyone, whatever their background or gender.

“We will work with our partners in local government, further education, third and private sector training providers and business to make this vision a reality. The milestones over the next seven years are very clear and as part of our economic growth, I expect to see youth unemployment reduced by 40 per cent by 2021.

Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment Annabelle Ewing added:

“A considerable amount of work on implementing the Commission’s recommendations has already been carried out with pathfinders for foundation apprenticeships already up and running and interest in the Investors in Young People accolade very high.

“We are also working towards having 30,000 new Modern Apprenticeship opportunities every year from 2020. And building on £12 million investment for 2014/15, a further £16.6 million has been allocated in the draft Scottish budget for 2015/16 to take forward the measures within today’s strategy.

“The Commission’s report highlighted a number of cultural issues which we all need to work together to address. As a society we will do better if we can benefit from the skills, talents and innovation of all our people, which is why we are committed to enabling everyone to participate fully in the workforce, especially groups that are currently underrepresented.”

Cllr Douglas Chapman, COSLA Education, Children and Young People Spokesperson said:

“The report setting out the Implementation Plan to take forward the recommendations from the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce recognises the critical role of local authorities in delivering vocational opportunities for young people and being ideally placed to work with businesses and colleges to assist young people into quality, sustainable employment.

“The report is clearly a significant piece of work and sets out a complex range of activities over the next seven years for local government and our partners. COSLA is supportive of the report as councils are committed to increasing the skills of young people in our local communities to enable them to contribute to local economies.

“The report is also now Scotland’s new Youth Employment Strategy and quite rightly recognises the lead role that councils have in schools and local economic development that are central to this effort as part of a constructive partnership with the Scottish Government, and other key partners such as employers and colleges to realise the ambition of the Commission and build upon Curriculum for Excellence.”

Notes to editors

Developing the Young Workforce: Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy can be found at: